If you’ve been hungry for details about the seventh Music City Food + Wine Festival — which returns Sept. 20-22 — we’ve got a plateful of news for you. I guess the grass has finally grown back at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and Hall of Fame Park downtown, because these two locales will again host the events of the Friday-through-Sunday fest. Among the highlights of this year’s schedule are a visit by acclaimed Chicago chef Rick Bayless and some other guests from the Windy CIty — a group of blues all-stars who will headline Harvest Night on Saturday with their own renditions of Rolling Stones classics. With regard to chef Bayless, I would be willing to offer him my spare bedroom forever if he’d bring an outpost of Frontera Grill to Nashville!
The first night’s main event will be the return of the Friday Night Throwdown, wherein members of the Titans and Predators will team up as chefs along with celebrity sous chefs Carla Hall and Tim Love to compete in cooking contest featuring a surprise ingredient box. The winning team will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges.
Make a Friday-date-night of it by watching this friendly competition and enjoying food and drink from the tasting tents at the Chef Showcase along with intimate Meet the Maker and Tasting Sessions, plus book signings. The tents will be serving Friday night from 6-10 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Bicentennial Mall.
Among the chefs slated to offer up their wares are: Lokelani Alabanza (Hattie Jane’s); Hrant Arakelian (Lyra); Carey Bringle (Peg Leg Porker); Derek Brooks (Capitol Grille); Casey Carstens (Americano); Gerard Craft (Pastaria); Crystal De Luna-Bogan (The Grilled Cheeserie); Luke Fabian (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Knoxville); Matt Farley (TomKats); Tony Fraske (Makeready Libations & Liberation at Noelle); Daniel Gorman (Henley); Mike Haggerty (Sea Salt); Hal M. Holden-Bache (Lockeland Table); Vui Hunt (Vui's Kitchen); Michael Kopfman (Stateside Kitchen at Dream Nashville); Kevin Korman (Whitebird at The Edwin, Chattanooga); Daniel Lindley (5th & Taylor, Alleia); Bron Lindsey (Adele's); Michael Lishchynsky (Bourbon Steak); B.J. Lofback (Funk Seoul Brother); Mike Morales (Sunda); Deb Paquette & Jess Lambert (Etch); Nick Pellegrino (Mangia Nashville); Giovanni Pinato (Giovanni Ristorante); Jess Rice (My Poor Tired Liver); David Rule (Church & Charles, Knoxville); Shawney Severns (Pemrose); Joshua Simpson (Proper Bagel); Nina Singto (Thai Esane); John Stephenson & Joey Molteni (Hathorne); Trevor Stockton (RT Lodge, Maryville); David Tieman (Five Points Pizza); Murphy Vaughn & Chris Bowater (Silo); Eric Zizka (Saltine); and more to be announced.
Some of the chefs presenting demos include: Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco, Leña Brava, Cruz Blanca, Frontera Cocina, Bar Sótano); Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde in Chicago); Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto Restaurants, Morimoto Asia Restaurants; Momosan Ramen & Sake); and Aáron Sánchez (Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans).
Saturday night’s Harvest Night combines food, drink and music with local and national celebrities serving up small plates and meeting with their fans from 7-9:30 p.m. The chefs that will be spread around Hall of Fame Park include: Rick Bayless; Jessica Benefield & Trey Burnette (Two Ten Jack, The Green Pheasant); Matt Bolus (The 404 Kitchen); pastry chef and James Beard Foundation Award-winning writer Lisa Donovan; James Beard Foundation Award winner Sarah Grueneberg; Carla Hall; Matt Hyland (EMILY, EMMY Squared, VIOLET); James Beard Foundation Award winner JJ Johnson (Fieldtrip, Henry at Life Hotel, in NYC); Cheetie Kumar (Garland, Neptunes Parlour and Kings, in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.); Tim Love; Margot McCormack (Margot Café & Bar, Marché); Rob Newton (Gray & Dudley); Deb Paquette (Etch, etc); Aarón Sánchez; James Beard Foundation Award winner Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto, Jams, Brezza Cucina); and Nashville's own James Beard Foundation Award winner Tandy Wilson (City House).
After the tastings are finished, the crowd will assemble in front of the stage to enjoy a set of Rolling Stones classics performed by blues stars who perform under the moniker Chicago Plays the Stones. This group includes luminaries like Buddy Guy, Billy Boy Arnold and Carlos Johnson, taking the blues back from the Stones, who stole them in the first place.
If you need a little soul-saving after that evening of down-home blues, consider attending the Gospel Brunch on Sunday, Sept. 22, in Music City Hall of Fame Park from noon-2 p.m. More Nashville favorites will serve up brunch favorites accompanied by a live gospel performance. Offering up the hair of the dog will be: Katie Coss (Husk); Pat Martin (Hugh Baby's); Claire Meneely (Dozen Bakery); Rob Newton; Jonathan Searle (Proof on Main in Louisville, Ky.); Donna Piatko (Old School Nashville); and more chefs and restaurants to be announced.
Tickets are available for the entire weekend or for individual events at the festival website beginning today, May 16, at 10 a.m. Here are the ticketing details for the weekend and more information about the festival:
Tickets & More Information
Music City Food + Wine Festival ticket options include an All-In Ticket, as well as Friday Evening Ticket, Saturday Ticket, Harvest Night Ticket, and Gospel Brunch Ticket. All attendees must be 21 years of age or older. Ticket prices are inclusive of all food and drink.
The All-In Ticket ($525 per person) enables guests to experience the full weekend of Music City Food + Wine Festival programming, including Friday and Saturday festival access; the Friday Night Throwdown; interactive cooking demos & book signings; hands-on beer, wine and cocktail tasting sessions; tastes from Nashville’s best chefs & restaurants; access to Saturday's Harvest Night and Sunday’s Gospel Brunch.
The Friday Evening Ticket ($165 per person) includes single-day access to Friday, September 20 Festival programming at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, including interactive cooking demos & book signings; Friday Night Throwdown; hands-on beer, wine and cocktail tasting sessions; tastes from over Nashville’s best chefs & restaurants; and more.
The Saturday Ticket ($165 per person) includes single-day access to Saturday, September 21 festival programming at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, including interactive cooking demos & book signings; hands-on beer, wine and cocktail tasting sessions; tastes from Nashville’s best chefs & restaurants; and more.
Harvest Night Ticket ($275 per person) is available as a stand-alone ticket option for Saturday evening, September 21. Harvest Night brings together signature dishes from world-renowned chefs from Nashville and across the country with a live musical performance.
Gospel Brunch ($85 per person) is available as a stand-alone ticket for Sunday, September 22, at Walk of Fame Park. Gospel Brunch features a dynamic roster of restaurants and chefs serving creative brunch favorites. Get a jump-start on the day with eye-opening cocktails, wine, coffee, and a spirited live gospel brunch performance.
Music City Food + Wine is generously sponsored by: Nashville Convention + Visitors Bureau, Toyota and FOOD & WINE.
About Music City Food + Wine Festival:
Music City Food + Wine Festival is produced by founding partners Vector Management, GRAMMY-award winning artists Kings of Leon, world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman and Austin-based C3 Presents — producer of Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin's Zilker Park.